How to apply

Applying for the internship is an introduction to the Congressional experience and requires a high degree of professionalism. The process is quite different from that which most students have experienced and the kind of information you are asked to provide is very important in your selection as an intern and your placement in a Congressional Office. Students should expect to spend a good deal of time in preparing their application and should consult with Prof Don DeBats prior to submitting. The most important aspects of the application are the one page resume set out as specified in the application form, the statement of interest and the two written references. These are important steps in ensuring that you will be selected for a phone interview with a Congressional Office in Washington.

Selection process

Students applying for the Washington Internship Program provide hard and electronic versions of the application documents. These are transmitted to the two Washington participants on the selection panel – Charles Mahtesian and Steve Slattery. A telephone conference is arranged between Don DeBats, Charles Mahtesian and Steve Slattery, and each applicant is assessed in terms of academic record, commitment to the ideals of the program, and their likely success in Washington as Interns. Both Charles and Steve have extensive experience in dealing with Interns and appreciate the importance of careful selection.


The major element of the assessment for this 9 unit topic is a 6,000-word paper. The paper will be assessed in both Washington and at Flinders and will count for 85% of the assessment in this topic. Preparation for this paper begins as soon as Interns are selected; the paper is due at the end of the Semester following their return from Washington. The paper is a unique blend of the Intern's experience in Washington and the rigour expected of a substantial research paper. The subject of the paper is a merger of the interest of the individual Intern and the policy matters being considered in the office in which that Intern is placed. The second step in the development of the paper is a mid-program review in which Prof Don DeBats discusses the progress of each Intern's paper during a visit to Washington. The Interns are expected to have an outline of their paper and all of the primary source material necessary for it on their return from Washington.

Early in the semester, oral presentations are organised at which each of the Interns reflects on the program and provides an overview of their paper. This is a formal presentation before an assessment panel and counts for 15% of the assessment in the topic. Each Intern's presentation is video recorded and provided to the Intern to assist in the development of presentation skills. Further discussion of each Intern's paper occurs and the final paper is due at the end of the semester. The paper is double marked, is made available to Charles Mahtesian and Steve Slattery, and is provided on a confidential basis to the Congressional Liaison Section of the Australian Embassy in Washington. The Interns find their final paper—polished and unique—of considerable value in job applications.

Papers written by Washington interns (PDF 448KB)


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